ComReg gets ball rolling for next-gen broadband

30 Oct 2007

Next-generation network (NGN) broadband is getting nearer to roll-out as ComReg, issued a public consultation document on Friday on high capacity point to point radio links.

ComReg has tested radio links in the 71 to 76 GHz and 81 to 86 GHz spectrum band and found that between 1 and 10Gbps (gigabits per second) can be delivered over relatively short distances ranging from 1 to 3km.

This could be a viable alternative to optical cable, says ComReg, “particularly where speed and ease of installation are key factors.”

The public consultation document released by ComReg will allow for commercial licensing of the spectrum.

It closes on 22 November at which point ComReg will consider the submissions and decide on availability of the radio spectrum.

The distinctive transmission qualities of these bands mean that interference between multiple radio links is decreased which makes it more ideal for use in particular geographic areas.

This is significant since the ballpark cost of laying 2km of fibre is around €200,000 whereas for any distance up to 5km with a wireless link could possibly be installed for less than €50,000.

The recent approval by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) for use of fixed wireless services in this spectrum has helped this technology take off.

A spokesperson for Gigabeam Ireland, a wireless gigabit provider, said: “At the moment to be able to build a network like e-net fibre has to be laid and it is quite expensive and with roadworks it keeps getting dug up.

“A few years ago noises were coming from the US saying ‘we need to be able to deploy fibre link speeds, we need to do it fast and we want to do it wirelessly’ so they had their boffins work on this technology which is basically point-to-point wireless up to five or even eight km but can deliver speeds from 1Gbps.”

By Marie Boran